You may not have realized it, but June is LGBT Pride Month, designed to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world and celebrate their cause. In my city of Bismarck, Dakota Outright, a group that advances LGBT issues, organized several activities this past weekend as part of the local Capital Pride event. They offered vendors, music, a riverboat cruise, and a “Dakota Divas Spectacular”.

As you may imagine, my initial reaction was less than enthusiastic, given my beliefs and values. KFYR-TV reported that Jonathan Frye, Dakota Outright Secretary, stated, “We deserve as many human rights and protections as everybody else because we’re here and we’re present. So we want people to know that yes we do exist, and yes we do need protections, and yes we are people.”  My reaction was that the LGBT community does have the same protections you and I have; what we are opposed to is “special protections”.

I also read a myNDnow.com article which reported that Lisa Loar from Jamestown spoke to a roomful of people and remarked, “We live a life with the hetero-normative so much and there’s nothing wrong with it, but sometimes we just need to back off and be somewhere where we’re the dominant culture in a sense.” I found that a bit foreboding.

To round out the weekend, a service was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church. At the service, “All of the speakers shared stories of when they didn’t feel welcome, especially in a faith-based environment.”  That part saddened me.

Over the years, I have known gay individuals who I would consider some of my best friends. We’ve had lively debates about the LGBT issue, agreed on almost nothing, but have remained friends nevertheless. Why?  Because we loved the other person for who they were: a creature created in God’s image with inherent worth and dignity. Yes, I continually pray that they may see that their lifestyle is counter to how God created each of us.  However, I also pray for God’s blessing on their lives and for them to know true peace and love. I pray for their families. I pray that if it be God’s will, they can see that our Savior’s message, while never compromising on biblical truths, is one of accepting all into His fold.

So, I extend an invitation to my LGBT brethren. Let’s talk over coffee sometime. I don’t want to spend the whole time debating the LGBT movement and our opposing viewpoints. I suggest we also talk about the Vikings, your pets, how muggy the weather has been this summer, or our shared frustrations with road construction – whatever you want to discuss. As with my closest friends who are gay, I suspect we will agree on almost nothing related to the LGBT movement, but that’s no reason I can’t buy you a latte and perhaps start a friendship.

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director